In Groundbreaking Move, Colorado Ends Routine Flaring

EDF Statement from Dan Grossman, Senior Director of State Advocacy, Energy

November 5, 2020
Matt McGee, (512) 691-3478,

(Denver, CO) The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) today voted to adopt new rules to eliminate the practice of routine flaring at new and existing wells across the state. The rules will be formally adopted after a procedural vote later this month. Routine flaring occurs when operators burn off natural gas produced from oil wells instead of capturing it and selling it or otherwise putting it to beneficial use.

Operators in Colorado currently waste nearly $12 million worth of natural gas annually through venting and flaring, resulting in hazardous air and climate pollution. Reducing needless flaring is critical for curbing waste, reducing pollution and protecting public health.

This move makes Colorado the first in the lower 48 to put a stop to the wasteful practice, and comes as other oil and gas producing states such as New Mexico and Texas face increasing pressure from investors and companies to zero out routine flaring, while recent surveys have found flaring to be an outsized source of climate-warming methane emissions.

“Ending routine flaring is a critical move for protecting Colorado’s communities and climate from needless waste and pollution. The outdated practice of torching natural gas for sheer convenience has no place in a 21st century energy economy. With this rule, Colorado becomes the model for other jurisdictions looking to end routine flaring as communities, investors and leading companies demand action.”

  • Dan Grossman, Senior Director of State Advocacy, Energy

Additional Background:

Colorado has a duty under state statute to meet science-based climate pollution reduction requirements by delineated deadlines and to address adverse pollution impacts on disproportionately impacted communities.

Colorado has failed to carry out its mandatory legal duty to propose implementing regulations by July 1, 2020. EDF urges Colorado to immediately carry out these crucial and overdue responsibilities as required by law to protect the health, environment, economy and well-being of all Coloradans.

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.